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Plumbing? Appsolutely

image Billy Stevens, founder and owner of billyGO

DALLAS/FT WORTH - Billy Stevens has always been an innovator and forward thinker. When Google first came out, Stevens saw the potential there and had the first and only plumbing company on the first page for two years on the Google search in the Dallas area.

 

 

 

    “Our business exploded,” he said, describing the effects of being on Google.
    Now, after spending long enough time in retirement, Stevens is again innovating as head of billyGO, a plumbing and HVAC company.
    The entire business is run via the billyGO app. There is no warehouse, no office or shop whereby the plumbers all come into first thing in the morning to get their day’s marching orders. They all work from their homes and stay in their own geographic area.
    “Wherever a guy lives is wherever we’ll service,” he said. “Our goal is to keep our employees in the area where they live.”
    “I developed an app that runs the whole business,” Stevens said. “It cuts the actual overhead 30 percent. You don’t need dispatchers. You don’t need phone call takers.”
    billyGO opened up it’s “doors” only recently - September 1st, 2018. In these few months, there have been over 1,600 downloads of the app within Stevens’ target area of a 15-mile radius.
    Stevens had been retired for the past six years. Before that, he was the owner of Berkey’s Plumbing. While he enjoyed spending quality time with his kids during their formative high school years, Stevens’ wife was none-too subtle about getting him out of the house and doing something with himself.
    In fact, Stevens credits his wife with coming up with the name, “billyGO.” She kept saying to him, “Billy, go take the dogs to the vet. Billy, go do something.” Stevens jokes when he says, “I went [back] to work to save my marriage!”
    Inspired by his wife’s “Billy GO do this mantra,” Stevens then checked to see if billyGo was available. It was, and he secured it.
    It was during retirement and on a trip to New York City that the idea for an app in his plumbing trade came into his mind.
    A friend had told him about this new-fangled way of getting a taxi, called Uber, and he should use it while in the Big Apple. Stevens downloaded the Uber app, used it, and was instantly fascinated with it. He peppered the Uber driver with questions.    
    That led Stevens to get serious about developing an app for the plumbing business. He did, and launched both the Apple and Google versions last September.
    The customer does all the interaction on the phone. The closest plumber to the customer gets the call to report at the requested time. Gas is saved. Plumbers can get paid more. Customers can get charged less. Overhead costs are down.
    If a plumber is over one hour late of the requested time, the cost is automatically reduced per minute. Everything is handled by the app.
    “We had zero customers on Day 1,” he said. “As of this morning [the day of this interview in January], we have 1,457.”
    Stevens even has requests for outside his area. With plumbers asking to come on board, he plans to expand over the whole Metroplex. “I have plumbers waiting for me to get trucks to them,” he said.
    Stevens is going to franchise and license this app, first to Texas, then nationwide. He jokes that the next step for him is to have drones deliver the technician to the person’s home.  Why not?
    “It’s time to change the rules,” he said. “We streamlined the whole system.”
    The old saying is: “Idle hands makes for the devil’s workshop.” In the case of billyGO, idle hands made for a better mousetrap.
    “I’m really enjoying it,” Stevens said of his new business. That makes at least two people, as the Mrs. no longer has to tell Billy to go do something. He just did.
    billyGO is located in Grapevine. -dsz


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Dan Zulli dan@constructionnews.net